Is It Time To Ditch Your Old Gas Lawnmower? ( All Your Other Gas Tools)
Many of us live in semi-urban, suburban, or rural areas in the east where a grass lawn is common. I never needed to water my lawn when I worked for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and lived near Annapolis, Maryland. We moved there because I could practice my trick water ski competition sport on the nearby South River, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. When I retired we moved to the western desert in Lindon, Utah, only a few miles north of Provo, near our son, daughters, and 10 grandchildren. The house we chose still has a lawn that is watered with “grey water” using an underground sprinkler system.
We spend our summers on Laurel Lake in Three Lakes in northern Wisconsin, where our yard is mostly pine cones, dead leaves, and needles, and we don’t maintain a lawn at all. recently we spend part of our winters in our daughter’s home in the “ultra-desert” in St George in southwest Utah. Her yard is mostly desert landscaping with cactus and gravel, and only postage-sized grass areas which are maintained by the property association. With the US southwest in a 1000 year drought, it is clear that the lawns in the west that have been put in to remind owners of their previous homes in wetter climates need to be replaced with desert landscaping.
I am on my fourth electric car and have been driving electric for almost 8 years now. We have solar panels on the roof of our house in Utah now for 5 years now. My main hobby now is biking. I ride about 20 miles per day on city and off-road trails on a big full suspension electric mountain bike. It makes the old man feel like he is 20. So, I am doing at least some things to move towards a greener world.
My Son Still Mows My Lawn With A Gas Mower
At age 82, I’ve just stopped mowing my own lawn with a gas-powered lawn mower. A few years ago, when my Briggs Stratton-powered lawn mower died, I tried to convince my son that I should buy a battery-electric mower. Since he promised to do all the mowing, I relented and bought the new gas-powered model that he preferred (see top image). See below to see what I would do if I was shopping for a new mower now.
How About You? Are You Ready to Ditch Your Old Gas Lawnmower?
- First stop, Home Depot: Home Depot had a whole line-up of 6 RYOBI battery-electric lawn mowers. 4 were 40V 21” self-propelled, ranging from 749 to 399 (See Fig. 2) and two were push (yourself) (See Fig. 3). They also carry a couple of other brands. The main difference was the size and number of the batteries. The most expensive comes with two 6 Ah batteries and 70 minutes of runtime. The least expensive comes with two 4 Ah batteries. For comparison, my big mountain e-bike has a 17.5 Ah battery. I think the 70-minute runtime for the most expensive comes from using both batteries. Bottom line: you can mow any size lawn, but you may need buy more batteries or take a break of at least a couple hours or overnight before you finish the job.
- The push mowers (Fig. 3) ranged from 349 to 299. The least expensive is an 18V 16” model that comes with no batteries but uses the same 6 Ah batteries as RIOBI’s other power tools
- Second stop, Walmart: It’s August now and Walmart only stocks seasonal products before and during each season. Walmart was out of electric lawnmowers and only had a few gas mowers left in boxes.
- Third stop, Menards: Menards is a massive home products store like Home Depot and Lowes, but is mainly in the Midwest. Menards had a few electric lawnmowers, but they were all in boxes.
Figure 2: Four RIOBI self-propelled 21” battery-electric mowers from 749 to 399. Home Depot, Rhinelander Wisconsin. Photo by Fritz Hasler
Figure 3: RIOBI 16” 349 and 13” 299 battery-electric push mowers. Home Depot, Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Photo by Fritz Hasler
Figure 4: EGO cordless electric lawnmower (Lowes website)
Let’s look at a battery-electric lawnmower in action in Fig.4. The battery-powered electric lawnmower in Fig. 4 is self-propelled and costs 569. But there are models that cost as little as 149 for a 14” push mower. Since electric motors have great torque, this mower should make quick work of that tall grass like that shown above, which tends to stall a gas mower. With extra batteries that can be easily changed out, an electric lawnmower can handle any size lawn.
Like electric cars, your battery-electric lawnmower is going to cost more up front, but it will last a lifetime, you will save something on fuel, and won’t have to mess with going to the gas station and spilling the stinky gas that doesn’t make it into your mower.
Artificial Intelligence Robot Auto Lawnmowers
Everyone has heard about robot vacuum cleaners that will roam about your house cleaning the floor and carpet without intervention. It turns out that there are also robot lawnmowers that operate on the same principles.
Figure 5: Husqvarna robot lawnmower. Three Lakes Hardware, Three Lakes, Wisconsin. Photo by Fritz Hasler
On most days, you can see a robot lawnmower like this one (See Fig. 5) busy at work on a large level grass field across from Three Lakes Hardware in Northern Wisconsin. You can buy one for your lawn for only 2499 at the hardware store. It uses a random search pattern to cut the lawn, and when it is low on charge it automatically finds the charging station and gets a refill (See Fig 6). There is a buried wire around the perimeter of the field to keep it within bounds, but otherwise it keeps the lawn mowed perfectly without any supervision. You can see another Husqvarna robot mower in action in Fig. 7.
Figure 6: Charging station for Husqvarna robot lawnmower. Three Lakes, Wisconsin. Photo by Fritz Hasler
You probably won’t be surprised to know that the little hardware store and the adjacent field being mowed by the robot mower are owned by the owner of the Three Lakes Winery across the street. In the Winery parking lot are three Tesla 48A destination chargers and one generic 1772 L2 charger. You can charge your electric car there for free. It’s the only electric car charging station in Northern Wisconsin, but a new Tesla Supercharger is under construction in nearby Minocqua. The owner also owns a Model S Ludicrous Performance vehicle that he purchased in 2015.
Figure 7: Husqvarna Automower in action. (Husqvarna website)
All Your Home Garden Tools Should Now be Battery-Electric
Not just your lawnmower, but also your leaf blowers, trimmers, edgers, chain saws, etc., can be battery-electric now, and you can throw away your ear protectors.
All your portable home shop tools like drivers, jig saws, circular saws, Sawzall reciprocating saws, planers, nail guns, etc., can be battery-electric now. No professional home builder would be on the job nowadays without battery-electric power for any of his or her portable tools. If you buy the same brand, you can use the same batteries for all of these, including your lawnmower and chainsaw. You can keep one set of batteries charged and ready to go for any job you have on your schedule.
Beautiful Desert Landscaping
Who says you need grass to do beautiful landscaping in the desert?
Figure 8: Cactus buds and blooms, bikers, and Snow Canyon Parkway Bike Trail in Saint George, Utah. April, 26, 2021. Photos by Fritz Hasler
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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.
STIHL gasoline lawn mowers
clamping devices. A precisely cut lawn is ensured by the central cutting height adjustment with six settings. If you would like to also mulch your lawn using the RM 443, this petrol lawn.
push lawn-mower RM 448 TC
Cutting width: 46 cmEngine power: 2.1 kW
adjustment, you can effortlessly achieve an evenly cut lawn. This petrol lawn mower can be converted into a Multi-mower using a special mulching accessory. Technical.
push lawn-mower RM 756 GS
Cutting width: 54 cmEngine power: 2.9 kW
The STIHL RM 756 GS petrol lawn mower has been specially developed for tough, long-lasting use in professional operation. The sturdy hybrid housing, for example is characterised by high.
push lawn-mower RM 756 YS
Cutting width: 54 cmEngine power: 2.9 kW
STIHL RM 756 YS petrol lawn mower has been specially developed for tough, long-lasting use in professional operation. Its hybrid housing is characterised by sturdiness and durability
push lawn-mower RM 2 R
Cutting width: 46 cmEngine power: 2.1 kW
2 R mulching mower, medium-sized lawns can be mulched quickly and effectively. Its OHV engine impresses through its consistently stable power, which drives the mowing blade with a working width of 46.
riding lawn mower RT 4082
Cutting width: 80 cmEngine power: 7.6 kW
You can also optionally retrofit this ride-on mower with a mulch insert. Here, the grass clippings are left on the lawn as a natural fertiliser to promote lawn growth. Technical specifications:Value Lawns:up.
riding lawn mower RT 4097 SX
Cutting width: 95 cmEngine power: 8.9 kW
This ride-on mower enables you to mow extensive areas in a time-saving manner without needing to empty the grass catcher box. The side discharge ensures that the clippings are directly ejected during mowing. With its.
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Before you spend your hard-earned money on a new machine, get clear on the myths and facts about gas-powered and battery-driven lawn mowers.
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The seemingly endless cycle of summer yard maintenance often motivates homeowners to think about buying a new lawn mower, one that will make the job faster and easier, and maybe even be greener for the planet. A battery-powered mower would seem to tick all of those boxes, and with today’s growing selection of battery mowers, it only makes sense that consumers would be curious about them.
When battery-powered mowers first hit the market, they made quite a splash—no cords, no gas, no sweat! Yet, even as battery options have taken up some share of the market in recent seasons, gas-powered mowers are still reliable, go-to machines—and many models have seen key upgrades that make mowing easier. Why is that so? Well, battery run time remains a big concern: When you get a maximum of between 30 and 60 minutes on one charge, you run the risk of having to stop work in the middle of a mow—and it takes about an hour for the battery to recharge.
Also, gas-powered mowers have undergone significant technological improvements in just the past five years that have made them even more attractive. Common notions about “old-fashioned” gas mowers and “newfangled” battery mowers no longer apply. So, to help you pick the best mower for your lawn, let’s separate truth from hype right here.
MYTH #1: If healthy grass is your goal, it doesn’t matter what kind of mower you use.
It’s a rule of (green) thumb: The better the cut, the healthier the grass. The latest gas-powered mowers offer improved cut quality, thanks in part to the blade design. In an effort to maximize battery life, though, some battery-powered models alter the blades’ length and lift, which can impact the cut quality.
Another consideration: Gas mowers lose little to no power when slicing through long, thick grass or damp grass, whereas cutting tougher turf on a battery-powered mower can cause performance (not to mention battery run time) to suffer.
MYTH #2: Battery mowers cost more because they’re better machines.
On average, battery mowers cost about 50 more than their gas-powered counterparts. Then, of course, for a more accurate cost comparison, you need to factor in machine features, fuel costs for gas mowers, and replacement battery for battery-powered mowers. A self-propelled gas mower, for example, can retail as low as 269 compared to a self-propelled battery mower at 499.
But the calculations can’t stop there—you also need to account for each mower’s life expectancy. Gas mowers are more durable; they simply last longer. In terms of engine life, a gas mower will run for 10 years or more, while a battery-powered mower will need to be replaced after about five years, on average. What’s more, as the battery ages, its run time degrades up to 6 percent a year (or sometimes even more, depending on the size of the battery, yard size, average annual use, yard conditions, and storage).
MYTH #3: Gas-powered mowers are a hassle to maintain.
It used to be the case that those of us who wanted the power and cut quality of a gas mower had to put up with messy, time-consuming oil changes. Not anymore, thanks to recent innovations like the Just Check Add Technology available on new Briggs Stratton engines. This feature allows you to simply check oil levels and fill as needed—no oil change necessary, ever!
MYTH #4: Battery mowers are easier to start and stow.
Homeowners may be attracted to a battery mower for its fast starts and easy storage. Battery mowers are activated by inserting a key and pushing a button or pulling a lever, and many models are also collapsible, so they don’t take up much room. But before you rush off and buy a battery-powered mower, know that for newer gas mowers, clunky starts and bulky storage have become things of the past. For example, there’s no need to yank a pull cord on gas mowers equipped with a push-button start. And some gas mowers offer a foldaway feature that lets you store the machine upright in small spaces, without risk of fuel or oil leaks. You literally mow and stow.
MYTH #5: If you care about the environment, you’ll go for a battery mower.
It’s true that battery mowers have zero emissions, but remember this: Recharging batteries uses electricity, which may come from coal-powered plants. Additionally, there’s the dilemma of having to dispose of the battery when it dies. Ecologically minded consumers should also be aware that today’s gas-powered mowers are much cleaner in terms of emissions than models sold just 10 years ago. In fact, in accordance with emissions standards, they’re 35 to 75 percent cleaner, depending on the model and age of the machine. And because noise pollution is also an issue, know that gas engines have come a long way in that department, too. Mowers powered by Briggs Stratton engines with Quiet Power Technology, for instance, are up to 50 percent quieter than standard gas models.
It’s clearer than ever to me why gas-powered mowers have dominated the market for so long. To learn more about the latest innovations available on today’s high-tech, high-performance gas lawn mowers, visit www.betterwithbriggs.com.
This content has been brought to you by Briggs Stratton. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
The Best Lawn Mowers of 2023
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.
The Honda HRX217VKA is powerful, heavy and ideal for larger lawns. Read
Ego Power LM2135SP
This mower is powerful, comfortable, and a joy to use. It performed extremely well mulching and driving itself uphill. Read
Honda has produced superior power equipment for many years and this mower, which operates with rear-wheel drive, is no exception. Read
Kobalt KM 5080-06
The electric Kobalt KM 5080-06 was flexible and easy to operate, and can run bagged or bagless. Read
The Hart HLPM061US performed well across terrains and has a simple to use speed control. Read
Until just a few short years ago, gas lawn mowers were king. As more consumers are seeking eco-friendly cars, homes, and, yes, power equipment, advanced battery technology answers the call.
Today, consumers can drive an electric car, thrive in a solar-powered home and maintain their property with battery-powered equipment. But are the new electric push lawn mowers as good as the old internal combustion mowers? We decided to find out.
We tested gasoline, electric-corded, and battery-powered lawn mowers from the leading brands. We were eager to see if the battery-powered mowers could handle a large yard as well as the tried-and-true gasoline models. We weren’t disappointed. The Honda HRX217VKA (available at Amazon) came out on top as Best Overall, edging out its predecessor and our previous winner, the Honda HRN216VKA.
For the non-gasoline mowers, the Ego Power LM2135SP (available at Walmart) is our choice for Best Electric Lawn Mower. This mower set-up was quick, and it handled our testing well. The Ego Power also includes features not found on similar electric models.
The Honda HRX217VKA was a pleasure to use.
Quiet and powerful, the Honda HRX217VKA 21-inch NeXite lawn mower is the one to have for larger spaces. It is not designed for small yards, and you won’t be darting in and out of flower beds and shrubbery.
It is a pleasure to use. We had tested Honda mowers before and were familiar with their operation and overall product quality. The HRX217VKA did not disappoint. Easy to assemble and set up right out of the box, it started on the first pull of the cord.
Right away you can feel the heft of this mower with its innovative NeXite deck and powerful motor. It’s heavier than most mowers, but it feels planted on the lawn and tracks perfectly. It’s a mower for large lawns, and it makes the most difficult cuts a breeze.
With its 200cc motor and Select Drive Control, this mower easily cuts, bags and mulches the heaviest grass with ease. The Select Drive Control is almost intuitive as it lets you adjust the walking speed with a variety of settings.
The controls on the mower are large and easy to use. You can set the mower to bag or mulch or anywhere in between. Its user-friendly platform is clearly marked. You will use this lawn mower for years and years to come.
The Ego Power LM2135SP is the best electric lawn mower we’ve tested.
Until a few years ago, those who preferred not to buy an internal combustion mower had little choice. But advanced battery technology has finally arrived and the benefits can readily be seen in the Ego Power LM2135SP, a 21-inch self-propelled electric mower. This cordless mower with a cutting width of 21 inches utilizes a 56-volt lithium ion battery to power through up to 60 minutes of lawn cutting.
The Ego Power is powerful, comfortable, and a joy to use. Even though the battery only lasted about an hour, the mower performed extremely well mulching and driving itself uphill. It has plenty of torque and is capable of doing anything a gasoline-powered mower can do. It is clean, easy to use, and efficient.
The set-up on this mower was the easiest of the bunch. The handle slides and folds across the mower with ease, making storage a snap. Adjusting it to a personal height takes seconds.
A quick 50-minute charge on the battery and you’re ready to go. The battery charger even has a cooling fan that improves charging times and keeps the battery cool.
Like some of our other mowers, the Ego Power has twin blades that improve mulching and keep the trips to empty the rear bag to a minimum. Cutting height is achieved with one easy-to-access lever.
Operation is straightforward, and the composite deck makes the mower light and easy to maneuver around yard obstacles. Simply depress the power button, pull the green handle and the blades begin to spin. Dual buttons on the handle make engaging the self-propel feature safe and comfortable.
The Ego Power comes with LED headlights for convenience, and it was the only mower we tested that could propel itself when the blades were not spinning. This was a nice feature that eliminated pushing the mower back to the garage.
Other Lawn Mowers We Tested
Previously our pick for best lawn mower, the Honda HRN216VKA is a 21-inch self-propelled gas mower that’s a great choice for any yard. Honda has produced superior power equipment for many years, and this mower, which operates with rear-wheel drive, is no exception. It can handle the toughest lawns with ease and won’t take up much room in the garage.
“testing” to see if gasoline is GOOD or BAD
The set-up was easy and the mower started on the first pull. Its smooth engine is quieter than the other gasoline mowers, and it has more than enough power to cut and mulch the grass even while going uphill.
The Honda has a stacked and offset blade design that produces smaller clippings, which allows for better mulching and bagging. This means more efficient cutting and fewer stops to empty the grass bag. The bagging and mulching options can be easily and safely selected, once the mower is off, by using one lever on the mowing deck.
The innovative self-propel system is comfortable on the hands, provides adequate speed control, and can even be adjusted for those who are taller or shorter. Folding the handle for storage can be done quickly. This Honda lawn mower even has a gas shut-off valve for off-season storage.
The Kobalt 80V 21-inch electric mower is a great choice for anyone that wants an affordable, flexible, compact mower that is easy to maneuver and doesn’t require extension cords or gas cans. The mower is strong enough to chop through thick grass, and offers a highly adjustable cutting height.
At 66 pounds it is very easy to operate, with the ability to go bagged or bagless, and you can fold up the push handle for compact storage.
The main draw here is the 80V battery system, which gives you an hour of runtime in our testing, enough to cut about 7,500 square feet on a full charge. It also works in a variety of other Kobalt tools, and spares will run you right around 150. Charging the battery takes around 45 minutes when it’s dead, and it just pops into the battery slot and the mower can turn on with a press of a button if the safety key is inserted—much easier than having to use a traditional pull start.
Overall if you need a nice, basic mower to get the job done and want to go cordless, this is an excellent choice. It cuts clean lines, it’s easy to use, it can handle most lawns with ease, and the light weight makes it much easier to move up and around slopes and hills.
Especially if you’re planning to invest in a range of electric tools, this is a good system to buy into.
This Hart lawnmower was a pleasant surprise.
After removing it from the box and charging the batteries, we fired it up and took it out to the thick, lush grass.
It performed beautifully; its powerful electric motor cut through the lawn with ease and even increased its revolutions when we cut thicker grass. This mower easily handles a larger lawn.
The Hart mower moved with power and confidence through the lawn, and the simple-to-use speed control was right there at your fingertips. While our winning Honda gas mower has a sophisticated Select Drive System, the Hart’s simple slide bar works as well or better.
This excellent lawnmower has the power and convenience of mowers costing much more.
The Toro is a worthy competitor to the top-ranking mowers on this list.
This Toro lawn mower has the largest cutting area at 22 inches, and it is powerful and comfortable to use, thanks to its Personal Pace self-propel system.
To engage the self-propel, simply push the lever forward a bit and the mower begins to move forward, push it a little more and the mower moves faster. After a couple of rows of cutting, you will see how easy it is to regulate speed. This system is not as intuitive as some of the others, but it still works quite well.
Ryobi lawn mowers are garbage
Another great feature: The Toro has Briggs and Stratton’s check-don’t-change oil system that never requires an oil change.
Storage is also a snap as the handle folds down and the mower can be stored vertically.
At just 58 pounds, this mower makes cutting small lawns a lot of fun. The rear discharge chute allows you trim close to trees, beds, and shrubbery. I found myself zipping around obstacles using only one hand.
This is a simple machine with one battery in the center. Charging time is quick, and once the battery is in you’re on your way.
This is not a lawn mower for the back 40. With a 20-inch cut and a small electric motor, it is just not capable of handling larger lawns. But for most mid to small yards, this mower can clean up the area in no time.
Light and easy to store, this is the perfect mower to keep a lawn looking great.
The 21-inch Ryobi RY401150 40-volt brushless mower set up quickly and easily right out of the box. It includes double blades and cuts clean and clear.
This mower comes with two batteries that can be installed in the top of the machine. One notable drawback is that only one battery powers the mower at a time—cut your grass for approximately 30 minutes and when the first battery is depleted, you stop and move a switch to engage the second battery. Ryobi says that the batteries will last for 70 minutes, but stopping to change batteries seems counterproductive.
Otherwise, the mower performed well and completed all of the tests. It has a one-lever height adjustment and is light enough to maneuver around obstacles. It has plenty of power and handled the hill with little strain.
While both the Ego Power and Ryobi were solid performers on the electric front, the Ryobi was let down by its self-propel controls. The controls are located under the bar, but the lever is vague and unresponsive. Because the lever is designed for thumbs only, you need to push the lever in an awkward manner to get the mower up to speed.
For a corded mower, the Greenworks 25022 lawn mower performed quite well. The set-up was easy, and once it was plugged in, it started right up.
Of course, before you use the mower there is the time-consuming task of unearthing your extension cord, unraveling it, and finding a suitable outdoor plug. Once plugged in, the mower embraces its purpose with ease.
It has a powerful 12-amp electric motor that may not conquer larger lawns, but is perfect for smaller yards and trimming duties. Not to mention it offers clean and even mowing.
Not being self-propelled, it takes some effort to push the lawn mower and cord uphill and then navigate a path back so as to not cut your cord.
The 14-inch Sun Joe MJ401E lawn mower is the easiest to store. Its diminutive size makes it the perfect lawn mower for small yards and trimming duties. It’s light enough to pick up and move, and it comes with an easy-to-use bagging system.
Still, this is not a lawn mower for cutting the typical suburban lawn, as its lightweight, short wheel base and small wheels make it a little unstable over roots and ruts.
Of all of the lawnmowers tested, the Sun Joe provided the most difficulty when it came time to adjust the height of the blades. The mower utilizes solid axles, front and rear, and the axles are located in a three-notch system under the mower. To change the height of the cut, you need to pull the spring-loaded axles from their positions and move them up or down. It’s a challenging exercise.
The Sun Joe is corded, so cutting area is limited. To its credit, it’s powerful enough when running, but the limited scope means you will have a hard time tackling an entire yard.
How We Tested Lawn Mowers
We spent the summer mowing a half-acre New England lawn, over and over again.
Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.
Ray Lane is a retired supermarket store manager, avid golfer, and product tester for Reviewed. His lawn is the envy of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and he has used several push mowers over the years. At 83 years of age, his input on the mowers was critical, specifically when evaluating ease of starting, maneuverability, and safety.
We tested lawn mowers on both flat land and hills to test maneuverability and power.
After ordering from retailers like Lowe’s and The Home Depot, we assembled each mower and took note of the ease of the set up and how quickly we could adjust the handle to our preference. We then added gasoline, a battery, or an electrical cord to get the mower ready. We evaluated at the ease of setting the cutting height, first testing a high cutting height and then a lower one.
We took each mower on a few passes of an uncut half-acre lawn, measuring approximately 22,000 square feet, noting how it cut at a high height and a lower height while we monitored both the bagging and mulching features. Then we took each mower up and down a grassy hill to see how they performed. Our final test was testing storage capability.
What You Should Know About Lawn Mowers
Self-propelled lawn mowers can take some of the effort out of walk-behind mowing.
There are two basic types of walk-behind mowers: push and self-propelled.
The push type of mower is usually smaller, lighter, and easier to store. They are used primarily for smaller, level lawns. They are perfect for cleaning up areas that larger riding lawn mowers may miss. They can be run by gasoline, cords, or battery.
Self-propelled lawn mowers usually have a larger cutting diameter and can move on their own through operator controls. These mowers can also be powered by gasoline, cords, or battery. Since they take the brunt of the pushing away, self-propelled mowers are perfect for larger lawns up to a half-acre, and they can easily handle hills and sloped lawns. These self-propelled mowers aren’t fully robotic lawn mowers so you still have to do some work guiding them around your yard.
What Is A Self-propelled Lawn Mower?
The first self-propelled lawn mowers started to appear in the late-1960s. As suburbia grew and lawns got larger, pushing a heavy steel mower around on a summer afternoon wasn’t what most people wanted to be doing.
The first self-propelled mowers had primitive front-wheel drive systems that worked well enough, but the mowers often moved along too slowly. Sure, you weren’t pushing but you were caught in a slow-moving lawn-cutting procession. Early mowers either moved too slowly or too fast to match a natural walking speed.
Today’s mowers offer a much better propulsion system. The Honda NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self-propelled Mower with Select Drive Control, for example, allows a variety of walking speed settings. Owners can literally dial in their preferred walking speed so that they become one with the mower, not being pulled and not having to push.
The Ego Power Select Cut 56-Volt Brushless 21-in Self-propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower even allows the operator to drive out to the lawn without the blades turning. That is a great feature.
Today’s self-propelled mowers reduce operator fatigue and make cutting the grass easier than years ago. Self-propelled mowers make cutting on hills safer and more efficient. And with modern speed options they make a summertime chore a little more enjoyable.
Gasoline, Corded Electric, or Battery—Which Lawn Mower is Right for You?
Battery-powered lawn mowers can be powerful and efficient.
Gasoline-powered lawnmowers have kept lawns manicured for decades. They are powerful, reliable, and affordable, and come with features such as self-propelled movement, mulching features, and self-cleaning availability. They are powerful enough for large lawn care jobs and can tackle any lawn from a quarter- to half-acre acre. Any lawn bigger than that would necessitate a riding mower.
But gas-powered mowers emit dangerous carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, require yearly maintenance, and require the storage of gasoline and oil. This may not be suitable for some consumers.
Corded electric mowers have been around for years and were historically the choice of consumers who had smaller lawns and didn’t need the more powerful gasoline mower. While powerful enough to get most cutting or trimming jobs done, the one obvious drawback to a corded mower is the electrical cord.
For any yard worthy of mowing, a long electrical extension cord is required to power the mower. This can be a minor annoyance, such as having to keep the cord free from getting tangled in trees and bushes, to a major annoyance when you drive over it and cut it into small pieces.
However, corded electric mowers require no gas, oil, or maintenance and, other than a blade sharpening from time to time, can perform reliably for years.
Battery-powered cars, power equipment, and tools have been around for a long time. The electric motors were strong and reliable enough, but the battery was not. Just a few years ago, an electric car could expect to go only 100 miles on a charge, and power tools and equipment didn’t last long either. In the past few years, battery technology has improved by leaps and bounds.
Electric cars can expect hundreds of miles on a charge and power tools and equipment can last a full day. This lithium battery technology found its way to lawnmowers and it has created a viable option for those consumers who don’t want gas and don’t want a cord. These battery-powered mowers are powerful, efficient, lightweight, and green. Many now use brushless electric motors, which are more efficient, produce more torque, and are longer lasting than the older electric motors with brushes.
How often should I mow my lawn?
Cutting the lawn too often and only cutting it when it gets overgrown are both unhealthy for a lush, beautiful lawn. The rule of thumb in the lawn-care industry is to keep the grass between 3 inches and 3.5 inches in length. This allows the grass to be long enough to thrive in hot, summer weather.
When cutting grass, never take more than a third of the blade at once. In other words, never cut more than an inch or so. Not only does this cause clumping of grass on the lawn or in the mower bag, but it takes too many nutrients and moisture from the grass itself.
After the late winter fertilizer treatments and the often heavy rains, lawns start to come to life. You’ll find that the grass will need cutting every 4 to 5 days in order to remove just enough length. As the summer wanes on and the temperature rises, the grass will grow a bit slower and a once week cutting is adequate.
It is also important to keep the blades of your lawnmower good and sharp. Since the lawnmower blades are often made of steel, they will develop a dull edge after a season of cutting. A dull edge on a blade will tear the grass and not cut it. This may result in browning of the tips of the grass and put more stress on the mower as well.
While you are under the deck checking those blades—and always disconnect the spark plug wire before going under the mower—be sure there is no old clumped up grass clinging to the mower deck.
Meet the testers
TJ is the Director of Content Development at Reviewed. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled “Cranberry Capitol of the World,” which is, in fact, a real thing.
Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.
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